ForeverMissed
On Monday, September 28th, 2020, this world lost one of the great ones - Walter “Skip” Knapp.  Please go to the "Life" tab to read Walt's obituary and learn more about his interests and achievements.  We are encouraging our family and friends to help us create a virtual memorial to Walt by adding a "Tribute" below and/or going to the "Stories" tab and adding a story.  

If we were not in the midst of a global pandemic the way we would grieve, celebrate Walt's life, and support each other would be different.  If we could pick the perfect way to memorialize Walt it would have looked like this: We would bring our family, friends, and children to the Lower Meadow at The High Meadows School and as the children played on the wide open lawn and the horses looked on from the paddock, one-by-one we would tell a story of how we will remember Walt and how he positively impacted our lives.  We would laugh and we would cry as we showed our gratitude for being one of the lucky few that had the chance to know such a great man.  Lastly, we would grab a drink and do a final toast to the cowboy with the heart of gold.  

Unfortunately, due to COVID we can not do these things.  Walt was always the story teller, so in lieu of our ideal memorial gathering we would love for you to help us tell his story.  We are hoping you can include a comment or memory, photos, and/or video about Walt on this site. We believe that seeing your contributions here can help us all truly celebrate him.  

Also, as we all know, Walt was passionate about supporting those that needed an advocate, whether that be animals, children, or minority groups, such as Indigenous Americans.  As a tribute to his life, please pay it forward by helping others that need a louder voice because we are down one champion and he would want to know that his legacy lives on in others.  If you feel inclined to donate to a cause, these are the two that he held close to his heart: The High Meadows School & Camp (https://hms.highmeadows.org/support/high-meadows-f...) and Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (csvanw.org).

Please let your gratitude and love for Walt fuel you to help others in need. 

In Love,
The Knapp Family

Posted by Linda Baker on October 23, 2020
Walt and Fran are the kind of people that you meet and feel like you've known for many years. It's hard to talk about Walt without Fran because we always saw them together. They are generous in spirit and with their time and expertise. They are affirming and kind. Our hearts are breaking for Fran and family. We will miss the guy in the cowboy hat who had a smile for everyone. Linda and Bob Baker
Posted by David Litrenta on October 11, 2020
Time is an essence, as is years...and so was my friendship with Skipper...HE was a GREAT Friend and a classmate.
We spent a lot of time together in HS....i.e. played sports together, hung around together and had great times.
Walt, you will be sadly missed not only by me, but all who knew you....You are in good hands now and I know GOD is taking care of you...and to Fran and your family...
Posted by Sharidy Gowin on October 11, 2020
High Meadows subs are part of a small but special club. We are members because we truly love what we do. I had the pleasure of working with Walt as a sub over the last few years. Although we were often on opposite sides of the campus, we always exchanged a quick hello or hug whenever we saw each other. His smiling face and warm, gentle nature always brightened my day. I will miss him.
Posted by Lee Giesecke on October 9, 2020
This tribute is from John and Lee Giesecke.
Skip added so much to so many lives especially ours. We celebrated every holiday and family event together. Skip and Fran were at every sporting event for our grandchildren. His zest for life provided an example for all of us. He was a chef, aviator, author, horseman, activist and educator. . . A true Renaissance Man, who benefitted all our lives. His was a life well lived. He made a positive difference. We will miss him tremendously.
Posted by Meddie Finnegan on October 8, 2020
Walt is the kind of guy who you feel like you have known for half of your life - even if you just met him yesterday. I can't remember exactly when we met - but I know it had something to do with horses - and I know it had something to do with tying slip knots. Tying a slip knot is such a simple thing. Cross tying a horse is such a simple thing. Making sure the saddle pad is in the right spot on a horses back is simple. Walt would show me basic skills (again and again) and like any good teacher, he let me know that there was no such thing as a stupid question. Did he have opinions? Heck yeah! But he was always a friend first.

Walt's love for Bella Luna helped her recovery from an abusive situation. I got to watch him teach Koda-the-wonder-pony that the world would not hurt him any more. He knew there was a power within each of these animals that was resilient and could come back from their sad stories. I think he did that with people too - he empowered so many of us and helped us mend our broken parts.

Within a short amount of time Walt introduced me to Fran and his children and grandsons over cupcakes at a multi-age-play after party. They were clearly his "everything". I think about his family now and know that some a part of them has died with Walt. This is the result of being loved so hard by your husband/dad/granddad. You all should have had more years with him and I know he would have done anything to have more years with you.

When I walked the Camino in Spain with my daughter and wrote about it on Facebook, Walt told me over and over that my book was waiting to be written, and like tying a slip knot - it may take me a few tries, but I would accomplish that dream. All I had to do was pick up the pencil.

Walt was instrumental in helping me deal with an impending empty nest. He taught me the best parts of parenting are not over when kids go to college and grow up. Having a relationship with your adult children is where its at!  His last comment to me was about my 20-year-old daughter on her birthday - saying that the world was better because she was in it. He barely knew her, but knew her through me- so he cared about her too. That was his way.

Walt, the world was better when you were in it, and it will remain an even more spectacular place because you walked across pastures and spoke in classrooms and let your passion be felt everywhere. You found your way into my life like a foggy morning on the Meadow - quietly, with a subtle beauty that makes one pause at their luck to see such a rare and pretty sight and a little sad when the sun rises in the sky and the fog slowly slips away.

I will miss you and am honored that you chose to put me into your life even if it was only for a few years.
Posted by Christine Lucarelli Regen... on October 8, 2020
I met Skip through my friendship with his sister Kris. I have fond memories of Skip while he was in Racine and meeting Fran when they got married. My condolences to the family. Skip was a wonderful person who will be greatly missed.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Linda Baker on October 23, 2020
Walt and Fran are the kind of people that you meet and feel like you've known for many years. It's hard to talk about Walt without Fran because we always saw them together. They are generous in spirit and with their time and expertise. They are affirming and kind. Our hearts are breaking for Fran and family. We will miss the guy in the cowboy hat who had a smile for everyone. Linda and Bob Baker
Posted by David Litrenta on October 11, 2020
Time is an essence, as is years...and so was my friendship with Skipper...HE was a GREAT Friend and a classmate.
We spent a lot of time together in HS....i.e. played sports together, hung around together and had great times.
Walt, you will be sadly missed not only by me, but all who knew you....You are in good hands now and I know GOD is taking care of you...and to Fran and your family...
Posted by Sharidy Gowin on October 11, 2020
High Meadows subs are part of a small but special club. We are members because we truly love what we do. I had the pleasure of working with Walt as a sub over the last few years. Although we were often on opposite sides of the campus, we always exchanged a quick hello or hug whenever we saw each other. His smiling face and warm, gentle nature always brightened my day. I will miss him.
his Life

A Life To Remember

Walter “Skip” James Knapp, of Racine, WI, passed away in his home on Monday, September 28th, 2020 at the age of 76 in Roswell, GA from complications related to a brain aneurysm. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Fran Oliver Knapp, and two sons, Geoff Knapp of Atlanta, GA and Brian Knapp of Jacksonville, FL, and four grandsons. He also leaves behind his sisters, Vicki Butler and Kris Bournoville, both of Racine, WI.

Walt was born on October 7, 1943 in Racine, WI.  He graduated in 1961 from Horlick High School where he proceeded to join the United States Navy. While in service to the Navy, he met the love of his life, Fran, while in port in Virginia.  Walt and Fran got married at the William & Mary chapel on July 24, 1965.  They began their life together in Racine, WI, where he studied History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee class of 1970. From here, Walt and Fran grew their family with the births of Geoff and Brian while moving around the country with Walt’s job, finally settling in Plantation, FL in 1981until 2000. After a forty year plus career, Walt and Fran retired in Roswell, GA.  

In retirement, Walt focused on his passions, which included Native American studies, teaching, writing, and horses.  Walt spent three decades researching Native American studies and served as the Vice President of the Georgia Trail of Tears Association, as well as, instructed Native-American Culture at The University of North Georgia, Continuing Education Department. Walt became a freelance writer and, as a pilot, wrote numerous articles covering aviation-related topics. In addition, he published three novels encompassing his knowledge of the Old West and Native Americans. He was a member of Western Writers of America and Booth Writers Guild and in 2018 was inducted into the Horlick High School Hall of Fame. 

Eight years ago, Walt volunteered for the first time at his grandson’s school, High Meadows School & Camp.  This experience introduced him to a community that encompassed all of his passions, including his grandsons, and evolved into multiple roles.   He was a substitute teacher, taught after-school courses on horseback riding, taught and spoke on various aspects of Native American studies, worked with the ponies and riders during school and camp, initiated the rescue and rehabilitation of a horse for the school, and so much more.  His experience with High Meadows School & Camp was a labor of love.

The Love Story

This is in Skip's words taken from his Facebook page on his 55th anniversary to Fran:
"During the summer of 1965, much was happening in the world. The United States began its buildup in Southeast Asia when 3,500 Marines landed in Vietnam. By years end, 184,300 American soldiers were "in country" (not Donald Trump, he had heel spurs).
In July, the number one song was "Can't Get No Satisfaction," by the Rolling Stones, and Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which President Johnson signed August 6th.
Oh, there was one more thing of note. The beautiful Frances Ann Oliver and I were married in the oldest building still standing in America, The Christopher Wren building, on the campus of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
The story of how we met, fell in love, and married is one even the finest fiction writers of all time could have never conceived, but it happened. We were married on this date, and in September, I was deployed overseas for one year, So even though we've been married for 55 years, we've only been together for 54.
To my still incredibly beautiful wife, Fran, I wish you a very happy Anniversary. I love you even more than I did on that extremely hot Saturday in Williamsburg 55 years ago!"

Rescue & Rehabilitation of Bella Luna

Recent stories
Shared by Carrie WRead on October 11, 2020
I feel like I didn't know Walt well, yet he left a profound hole in our lives.  He was, it seemed, ever present on the High Meadows campus, cheering for and otherwise supporting his grandsons, caring for the animals, teaching all of the students, and generally being a welcoming, smiling face for anyone who crossed his path.  My sincerest condolences to everyone who knew him. 

Uncle Skip

Shared by Caleb Butler on October 8, 2020
I remember watching Skip catching for Brian in our backyard during one of their visits. I was maybe 11 or 12 a few years younger than Brian so obviously I wanted to do whatever he was doing. After watching for a while I asked if I could try and even though Skip's hand was probably pretty painful he was more than happy. That day he taught me how to throw a curveball and even though the ball never really curved its something I will always remember.